If you are arrested and charged with DUI, the arresting officer will fill out a police report about the incident. This report helps to lay out details of the incident from the officer’s perspective and gives you and your lawyer more information about the DUI situation. Although it is the cop’s point of view, this information can be invaluable in helping you determine how to best challenge the DUI in court. In today’s blog, we take a closer look at what information is included in a DUI police report and how it can help you structure your defense claim.
Police Report Basics
Again, the report will be from the officer’s perspective, so it may come off a little one sided and may not paint a completely accurate view of what happened. However, you can use that information to your advantage in your defense. But before we explain how to do that, let’s take a look at some of the basic information provided in the report.
- Description of reason for stopping the suspect.
- Behavior and characteristics of the defendant during the encounter with police.
- A summary of conversations between the two parties.
- Breath test results.
- Determination of sobriety or lack thereof based on field sobriety tests.
These are the main areas that a lawyer will analyze and use to help construct their defense. Other information, like name, address and vehicle details may be included in the report, but a mistake of fact or error with this information isn’t likely to help your case. Mistakes with the bulleted points, intentional or not, can make your case stronger.
Contesting The Police Report
If you feel like the police officer has made an error in their report, bring it up to your defense lawyer. It’s going to come down to your word versus their word, so it’s going to be an uphill battle. That being said, if you know the officer is mistaken or outright lying, these are the points you’ll need to hammer home, because the ends don’t justify the means when it comes to criminal law in Minnesota. What we mean is that even if you’re over the legal limit, if the officer doesn’t follow due process during the course of your arrest, you can get the charges dropped.
With that in mind, some of the ways an attorney will contest the facts of a police report include:
- Arguing that there was no probable cause to conduct a stop in the first place.
- Inaccurate reporting of the field sobriety tests.
- If dash cam or body camera footage is inconsistent with what’s in the police report.
- If witness accounts differ from the police report.
- If your rights were violated during the process.
If you need help contesting any aspect of the police report or your criminal charge, reach out to the experienced lawyers at Appelman Law Firm today.